Work-in-Progress Girl


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Sunday Stash: Heather Bailey and Hawthorne Hues Edition

So I was not a winner this past Giveaway Day at Sew Mama Sew or not a winner of stuff, anyway. Per usual, I found a bunch of new blogs to add to the rotation, even though some weeks I don’t have enough time to read all the blogs I already follow. (Fair question: how much more sewing would I get done if I spent less time reading about sewing?) Point being, that’s winning of a different kind, right? I like finding new blogs and new Canadian blogs (or just new to me ones). And also, I kind of won by finding this gorgeous pattern for the Infatuation quilt, which I bought right away (forget waiting to see if I’d win it or not… let’s face it, with 500+ entrants, I probably wasn’t going to!). I thought it would be perfect for using this bundle of Heather Bailey’s True Colors line that had stumbled into a Mad About Patchwork order some time ago.

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The bundle wasn’t quite big enough for the size quilt I want to make, so I started picking up some bits and pieces of Lottie Da, another line by Bailey, to add in with it. Here are a million and one (3) photos of the original line, plus the assorted Lottie Da prints I picked up:

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I didn’t plan it out very well because I got enough prints, but I didn’t get enough of the right sort of prints – I’ve got a spare one that doesn’t fit in, plus I need one busier print to go along with two of the blender prints. Each set of nine fabrics will make up three blocks – except the particularly leafy green one (in the bottom photo) won’t be in the quilt and… something else will be. It’ll probably be another butterfly print from Lottie Da, but I’ve ordered two choices so we’ll see what happens.

I was really undecided about what sort of background to use – I don’t want to pull in pure white (since the fabrics have an off-white background) and so I’d checked Hawthorne Threads to see what solids they recommended and they’d suggested a Michael Miller Cotton Couture grey as well as a few of their own Hawthorne Hues fabrics. I happen to know someone with a nice big stack of Hawthorne Hues in her possession – Michelle at Factotum of Arts – so I fired off an email to see what she thought of the fabric itself. You never quite know with solids – Cotton Couture and the Art Gallery Solids are probably the best feeling solids out there, Kona Cotton is nice to work with but less luxurious to touch, Moda Bella and I have had some tiffs in the past (omg the ripples in the fabric, even when I’ve neither pressed nor ironed), I’ve used solids from a local fabric chain store that was much thicker than quilt shop quality solids, but much more shred-happy… anyway, the point being, without actually seeing and touching the Hawthorne Hues, I was a bit nervous to buy 6 yards for a quilt backing.

Michelle was absolutely magnificent and didn’t just tell me what the fabric was like – somewhere between a Kona and a Cotton Couture in terms of feel – but also got out her own bundle of Heather Bailey’s True Colors line and photographed it up against a dozen or so different colours from the HH line and posted it for me on Instagram! She’s the awesomest! I can’t access IG right now (the last couple updates have made it so the app doesn’t function on my phone any longer), so I can’t show you all the photos she took for me, but from her selections I picked out three different Hawthorne Hues fabrics, plus a light grey Cotton Couture to audition for background fabrics.

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This orange solid from Hawthorne Hues, Pumpkin, was my total wild-card pick. I think it’s interesting and it lifts up everything and makes it all seem even brighter and happier than it already is… but oh my god does it scare me to think of 5 yards of quilt background done up in pumpkin orange. I don’t actually think I can do it!

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Jade, another Hawthorne Hues fabric, is probably my favourite choice. It’s lovely and not so overwhelming as I think orange would be… but I’ve got a finished quilt top that is almost this exact same colour (it’s done in cross-weaves, but it’s a very similar jade). It feels like I should do something different, just because I’ve done that colour before. (I should really get that quilt top basted and start quilting it…)

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Plum Azalea (I think? I’m questioning everything right now!) from Hawthorne Hues is my other favourite. It’s very, very similar to one of the colours from the True Colors line, which is a little scary, because I’d hate to piece it and have those purpley-pink prints kind of disappear against it, but look how the oranges and greens pop up off of it? Lovely.

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I keep calling this grey, but Michael Miller calls it Khaki. I picked this one up because I thought I’d be too scared by the bold colours and need something lighter to fall back on for the background… but it’s awfully dreary, isn’t it? Or maybe I should say that the only reason it doesn’t wind up dreary is that I cropped enough of the grey background out that you get drawn into the bright Lottie Da and True Color prints and sort of forget that background behind it.

But here’s the real issue with this colour:

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What’s that? You can’t tell what you’re looking at because it’s just a big sea of grey? Yeah. Kinda samey, isn’t it? Super duper samey.

I had bought these four colours so that I could do test blocks and see which I preferred, but then I got thinking about it and realized that if I do four test blocks, I’ll have sewn up a throw-sized test quilt! The blocks are 30″, it’ll be a 60″x60″ test! That’s an enormous test! (And yes, okay, I could do a maquette, quilt-style. But I’m not sure I could scale down the curved piece for a maquette.) So yeah, I haven’t quite decided what to do as far as that goes. I’ve got enough of the print and solid fabric to actually make 4 test blocks, so I technically speaking COULD do it… but if I put in that much effort just on the test, am I actually going to want to sew the quilt?

I do need to do at least one proper test block because there is curved piecing and that’s something I’ve never actually done before. Well, I say that. I’ve done it once before. I had gotten some swap blocks long, long ago and one of them was all curved piecing, but kind of badly done, so I pulled the block apart and sewed it together again, to fix the curves. But that was probably eight years ago and I was just fixing a block that had previously been sewn, it’s not like I was starting with crisp new fabric. And I think I did it by hand, which must also make a difference. Anyway, I do need to do at least one test, just to get a bit of curved piecing under my belt, maybe I’ll stop being so scared of it. But I’m not sure I want to do four test blocks. I dunno, I dunno.

Anyway, linking up with the always fabulous Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash:

Molli Sparkles

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Ellie-cases and Valentines in December

I’m in Saskatchewan now for a week or so, but before I left, I had a mad rush to get a few things done for Christmas gifts. I’d promised to bring one of my friends some shortbread cookies on the Saturday before I left, but I forgot to buy butter, which kind of put paid to that idea, so instead I decided to make her some pillowcases using fabric I’d bought months ago with her in mind. She’s a huge fan of elephant everything, but only if the trunks are pointing up (because it’s supposed to hold in the luck?), so when I stumbled over this Madhuri line of fabric, I’d had to pick some up for her.

Ellie Cases

I made two pillowcases for her, and kind of did it in a fabric wasteful way – I wanted the elephants to be running left/right rather than up/down, so I cut the forty-four inches down the length of the fabric and then trimmed the 26″ from the width of the fabric – so many prints run in the wrong direction for the hot dog pillowcase method and that’s the only way around it, other than just living with it. Normally I am okay with that, but I guess the luck would run out if they’re sideways? I don’t know – this friend has a thing about the trunks so I indulged it!

Elephant Pillowcases

Fortunately, these are pretty quick and easy to put together, even with the additional odd cutting. Not too much time or effort required to make them, and they look pretty great. She was also pretty happy with them, though I’m sure her husband wants to kill me. (Poor guy – I wrote him an apology on the gift tag.)

The other thing I needed to get put together was a wall-hanging for my Mom for a Christmas gift. Last year my sister and I made a Christmas wall-hanging for her and we also gave her a vaguely Halloween-ish quilted owl wall-hanging and for her birthday I gave her a more generic spring/summer wall-hanging, all for a quilt rack we also gave her for Christmas last year. So we’re trying to give her an option for every holiday, but we’re spreading it out a bit, rather than giving her a pile of them all at once. This is a Christmas gift idea that can go on for a few years!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

We needed something pretty quick this year because my sister was in India for a good chunk of the fall (for work) and then everything after that just seemed to come too quickly and we kept putting it off and putting it off. Suddenly it was 5 days till I was leaving and my sister was so slammed at work that her job gave her carte blanche to work as much overtime (from home) as she can in order to get it done.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

The only craft she really does (besides a tiny bit of scrap-booking) is cross-stitch, so we chose a really simple pattern from a book called Stitch Graffitti (the Christmas wall-hanging came from the same book) and she did a row here and a row there while waiting for her work program to load or run updates and so on. She got it done on the Thursday before I left, so Friday I pieced the stripes around it to bring it up to size (it’s about 15.5″ x 18″ I think – I don’t have it here to measure!).

Valentine's Wall-hanging

I did matchstick quilting, which was unbelievably time-consuming, but which I think looks pretty great. The worst part was hiding all the gazillion threads on either side of the cross-stitch section – so very many starts and stops!

I was vaguely concerned the stripes of colour really didn’t work together that well, so I thought maybe quilting closely with the same thread over the whole thing would kind of help tie it all together a bit, as if it were one weirdly striped print, rather than all the random long strips of scrap solid fabric I had in a colour range between pink and burgundy, with a little purple and pale blue throw in for good measure. I was going to quilt it with a grey thread all over, but discovered a variegated thread in my stash that ranged from the palest pink to a deep burgundy – the perfect choice!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

I bound it mostly with a grey dot, but also used a little of a pink flower dot that I’ve had in my stash for ages and ages. I intentionally avoided prints in the main part of the quilt – I thought it would be too distracting, and I wanted as much of the focus as possible to be on the cross-stitched area – so I thought the binding would be a nice place to add in a little printed texture. I had the whole thing quilted by Sunday, but then it was getting the binding done. It’s small enough not to take an enormous amount of time, but I didn’t want to have to bring it back to Saskatchewan with me – too easy for my mom to find it in my things. Monday night I stayed up stupid late to get it finished, since I was flying out Tuesday morning. I took my photos sometime after midnight, under the light of my harsh overhead CFL light – I’m surprised these photos came out as well as they did.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

Except for this one. Washi tape sucks!

Do you follow me? Via feedly or email or bloglovin’ or just popping by every now and again to see what’s new? Leave a comment below – anything you like, you can tell me know you follow me or how you found me or whatever – and I’ll pop you in a special post-Sew Mama Sew giveaway draw for two mini charm packs of V and Co’s Color Me Happy line.

Color Me Happy Mini-charms

I picked these up especially for this giveaway when I was at Periwinkle Quilting when I was in Saskatoon on Tuesday. I wanted to do something special for those of you who’ve been around a while (even if it’s a very short while!) but without pressuring the entire Sew Mama Sew commentariat into following me just to get included. I’d always rather people follow because they want to, not because they think it’ll give them a better chance at winning a draw. I’ll draw names whenever I wake up on December 28, so try to enter by December 27, I suppose. It’ll probably fall to Random.org to draw the name. But maybe I’ll write them out on slips of paper and pull it out of a bucket. We’ll see.


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Sunday Stash: Scraps and Solids

I’ve talked a bit lately about being on a Clean It Up and Clear It Out mission – in the kitchen, I’ve now progressed to having cleaned and emptied of expired or unwanted stuff the fridge, both freezers, the spice drawer, and the pantry cupboards – and it’s still not going super great in the sewing room. I have sorted more fabric out of my stash that I want to get rid of (mostly the previously mentioned children’s fabrics, as well as my non-quilting cottons like voile and canvas – I found a little more of both). Then yesterday I went through all my piles of scrap fabric and threw away anything that wasn’t at least 1.5″ square (I know, I know, there are people who use that or would stuff it into dog beds or whatever, but I don’t know any of those people and so it’s going to go away) and resorted everything by colour, removing solids, cross-weaves, and linen pieces.

Fabric scraps

I do keep my scraps sorted by colour in baggies like this, more closed up than that, obviously, but I don’t ever zip them up – I don’t know if this has happened to any of you, but I find fabric will get an odour if you close it up in anything for too long. I used to keep all my fabric in plastic tubs and after I moved to this house, it took me several months to get the fabric out of the tubs and into use… and every bit of it smelled musty. I had to wash and press everything, and since I don’t use fabric softener (and since I use unscented laundry detergent) I was worried it wouldn’t get rid of the smell. It did, thank god, but I might have had a much smaller stash if it hadn’t.

I’ve put my name into the Stash Bee pile, so as long as I get in for next year, I’m planning on requesting large kinda scrappy log cabins. I’m going to make two or three blocks ahead, so it was good to see what I do and don’t have much of in my scrap piles these days. I was surprised to see I’ve got virtually no purple and that my reds are dwindling. I was sure I had more purple (and there are two boxes in my sewing room that are full of junk – I have a tendency to stack things up if I can’t decide where to put them, so who knows what’s underneath – so I’m hoping there will be a stack of purple scraps in there), but I’m not surprised about the red, since I seem to make most use of it. I have piles and piles and piles of blue and green scraps though. Piles.

ANYWAY, my big cleaning/organizing goal today was to deal with my solids.

Solids stash

Fair to say I have more than I thought I did. Somehow I always think I haven’t got that many options for solids, but clearly that’s not true.

It might not look like it...

These weren’t in the photo above because I don’t want to mix them in with the rest: it’s all the fabric I’ll need to make the Mario quilt designed by Angela at Cut to Pieces.

Solids stash

And then there are all these – amounts of 2 yards or more. Seriously… where does it all come from? (Oh, that’s right. My bank account.)

Essex Linen stash

My bit of Essex linen is smaller than I thought it was, but that’s probably a good thing – it means I’m mostly using it up as I’m buying it.

Cross-weave fabrics

And finally my cross-weaves. Well, some of them anyway. The rest (I’d bought a FQ bundle of Moda cross-weaves some time ago) are in a box with a project-in-progress. These ones I’d bought (mostly) to make a Twelves Trees quilt. Obviously I haven’t done that yet. (Much like many of my ideas… I buy all the necessary components, and then never get around to making the thing.)

So that bit of my sewing room is cleaned up. Which is good. I’m going to store all these fabrics in the plastic bins I mentioned earlier, but I’m going to leave the lids off so that the fabric doesn’t get that cooped up smell. I just have to figure out where to store them…

Linking up to Finding Fifth‘s Sunday Stash, this week hosted by Lisa in Port Hope.

Finding Fifth


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Bits and Bobs

I had a to-do list this weekend that felt a mile long. It really wasn’t, but it just FELT like it and it’s all because I left all my sewing commitments for October until the Very Last Second, which made it feel like work instead of fun to finish them up. And they should have been fun! Some of what I was working on I won’t be showing for a few more days, but here are some of the blocks I finished up:

Tall Shoo-fly Blocks

I sewed up four Tall Shoo Fly blocks for my Livejournal Birthday Blocks group. These blocks are quite small (6.5 x 9.5″) so even though we didn’t have to make more than one I’d always planned on doing three or four. I found these hard to photograph, largely because the wall and the background fabric were pretty much the exact same colour. I kept thinking shadows would be a good thing for once since it would help distinguish the blocks a bit. It all looks a bit dingy and underlit, though, doesn’t it? Oh well, I think the blocks came out well, and that’s all I could ask for.

I’m still behind one block for the month for the LJ exchange, but I will get that one done in the next couple days, I hope. But also, I have a quilt I want to get quilted! I’m torn! (Commitments to other people really should come first, though, shouldn’t they?)

Anyway, I also did up my Simply Solids Bee block for October:

Road to Fortune

This is a paper-pieced Road to Fortune block, made for Shena of Apple Pie Patchwork. I don’t know why, but I kind of spaced out the making of this one, doing a unit two days ago and two units yesterday and finally finishing them all up tonight. Somehow I got all discombobulated about where my colours were going to go and it all came out a bit clumped up instead of nicely spread around. Oh well, I think it came out okay and it should blend in with the rest of the blocks by the time it’s all done anyway.

I also finished up my needlebook for the Sweet & Simple Scrappy Swap on Flickr. I’ve shown a lot of pictures of this already, but here are my finally finished shots. And if any of you can find my opps! error, the first one to get it right in the comments will get sent a Fat Quarter in the colour of your choosing. (Things which don’t count: the shoddy stitching on the snap, the not quite round felt, the not quite centred felt, the not quite straightly stitched felt.)

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I said before that this is a taco shaped needlebook, and here it is snapped shut and holding its taco shape all on its own. Yay! The pattern for the needlebook came from Suzuko Koseki’s Playful Patchwork book, but I wound up making it a bit larger than the pattern suggests. You’re supposed to shrink the daisy pattern down to 80%, but I wound up preferring it at full-size. It’s about 8-inches in diametre, I think, but the larger size made it easier to modify the interior a little bit.

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In any case, the exterior is kind of paean to Japanese design because not only is a pattern by a Japanese designer, but the green fabric is a Japanese print, from a Yuwa Kei line, which might or might not be called Newsprint and Roses. The stitching was done with Sashiko thread that I had in with my embroidery supplies. It’s nice and thick so it leaves a lovely line around the petals. Of which, the yellow fabric is a Lakehouse print, from the Annie’s Seed Catalog line and the off-white is actually a Moda Grunge fabric, though I forget the colour name of it. It’s a kind of off-white or winter white with very pale strokes of green and red brushed through in the grunge pattern.

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The interior has two leaves of wool for storing pins and needles. The green came from a local fabric shop, Traditional Pastimes, and the off-white wool was a gift to me from Jennifer Ofenstein, when she passed off a collection of mostly hand-dyed wool pieces.

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I modified the interior a little by adding this zipper pocket on one side (and if I’d had a second matching zipper, I’d have probably added a pocket on the other side as well). It wasn’t a complicated change, but I do think it made the needle-case a little more useful since otherwise scissors or a skein of thread would just slide out and possibly get lost.

So that’s my needlebook that I sent away for the swap. I was pretty happy in the end with how everything came together, and I really hope my swap partner will like it as lot as well.


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Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug
(Artwork by Liese Chavez.)

I’ve talked about this one a few times and shown a few pictures, but here are my final pictures of this finish before it gets sent away.

This mug rug was made for my partner at the Flickr swap group Modern Scrappy Bits. This is the fourth round and the fourth time I’ve participated. (There’s some discussion going on already about the fifth round, so if you’re interested in joining a swap where you make something small – from a list of 2 or 3 types of projects – for someone to send away with about a fat quarter’s worth of scraps of modern fabric, go join the group and keep an eye on the discussions! It’ll likely be a couple months before the next round starts, usually there are 2 or 3 between.)

My partner and I have some fairly dissimilar tastes in fabric, which left me a little undecided about what to make – I didn’t have the right types of prints, so instead I decided to use mostly solids in her favourite colours (with a few colour additions of my own just to round it out and some bits of prints for some interest) and I used the triangles because it’s something she had a few photos of in her Flickr favourites. She’s left some nice comments on the previous photos at the Flickr group, so I really do hope the blending of her tastes and mine will work out for her. (It works out for me! I’d love to make a bigger quilt using these same colours – teal, sky blue, lime, and a very minimal scattering of pale pink, yellow, and grey. Much larger triangles… could be fun!)

This wasn’t my first time working with triangles – that was Deanna‘s triangle block! (See here for the one I made and here for the finished, amazing, top) – which is probably a good thing since that previous experience helped me work out what to do with the seams on the back so I didn’t end up with a ginormous wad of fabric at any of the join points. I also kind of took from that experience the attempt to keep from making patterns with my colours – I struggled to keep from making a star on the inside or having hexagons that stand out too much

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

The fabrics are a real mish-mash of different things – the green is a Kona cotton, but the rest of the solids are some combination of Moda Bella, Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture, and Art Gallery’s Pure Elements solids. (I’m pretty sure the purple is Art Gallery, but it might be Cotton Couture – they have a similar feel. The others I’m pretty sure are Moda Bella, but I could be wrong.) Of the prints, the pink triangle is a Lizzy House Pearl Bracelet and the two roundish lime bits in an otherwise blue triangle are from an Amy Butler print. I think the blue dots are a Kei honeycomb print. The two teal blue prints are maybe from Art Gallery (certainly the one beside the yellow triangle is – it’s from the Nature Elements collection). I don’t know what either of the text prints are – someone told me a little while ago what the yellow one is, but I’ve gone and forgotten. The grey one looks a bit like some Benartex ones that I’ve got in different colours. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. It’s scrap happy.

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

The back is a little different. I used some of the spare triangles I’d cut to make a strip and then used some scraps of a print from the Cloud 9 line Across the Pond to fill in the rest of the back. The little (ugly) bits of ribbon you see there are for hanging, if the new owner would like to hang this rather than leave it flat. I think the back would be prettier without it, but I couldn’t find anything in a more appropriate colour (and really didn’t want to make little hanging tabs of my own). They’d be pretty easy to cut out, anyway, if she wants to get rid of them.

The quilting was done by hand (obviously) using 3 strands of DMC Satin floss. (I don’t know the colour number – I lost the sleeve for it. It’s a whitish-silver, anyway.) When you look at the quilting on the back, you can see that I lined up the strip of triangles on the back with one of the strips on the front. I don’t know why that felt important to do, but it did and so there it is!

So yeah, that’s that. It’s about 8.5 inches across from point to point (or about 7.5 across from side to side). Just big enough for a mug and a snack (which, why? does anyone actually use mug rugs for that?).

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

(That cupcake? Delicious. Lemon sugar on top of lemon icing on top of lemon cake stuffed with lemon filling. Yum.) (That mug? Empty. I don’t really like hot drinks.)


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RIP My Favourite Needle

For the last year, every single embroidery project I’ve worked on has been stitched with the same needle, a Bohin No 5 Crewel needle.

Molly Mutante, finished last year in July… The Running Stitch on a Pouch… My Crewel Embroidery Needlebook… My Unfinished ABC Sampler… Every one of my Doctor Who patterns…
Molly Mutante (close) Scrappy Bits pouch #2 (mosaic) Needle-book with Crewel Embroidery Flower Daisychain ABC Sampler in progress

Anything I’ve stitched on linen or linen-cotton blend fabric or even quilting cotton if I used interfacing to stiffen it, it’s been stitched with that same No. 5 needle. It turned me into a Bohin needle apologist. I’ve got packets and packets of them in all kinds of sizes, I gave one away to someone in a swap who was looking for a good needle, I don’t ever want to use another brand of needle again, but that particular No 5 was my favourite. It felt good in my fingers and was as sharp and perfect as the day I first pulled it out of its packet, so I just kept on using it, until yesterday when it died.

Bent Needle

So that one’s gone to the little needlebook in the sky, but hey! I’ve got a whole packet of them, so I guess it’s all right if that one is gone. I bent it doing some hand-quilting on a mug rug/mini-quilt wall-hanging for the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap:

Hand Quilting

I finished up all the stitching with that bent needle, but it was kind of difficult getting it through where I wanted it to be, considering the general kink in the straightness of the thing. I suppose I pushed it too hard – multiple layers of fabric (front and back, with a lot of wadded up bits where the triangles all meet – the front is all triangles), a layer of batting and a layer of medium weight interfacing (I wanted to keep it fairly stiff so that it can be hung without the sides drooping). That needle treated me well, anyway, and it’s a shame to see it go to the little metal tin of bent pins and needles, but it was its time to go I guess.

Anyway, in other fairly ridiculous news (as regards that particular mini), I managed to feature the word BUTT right on the front of it. Or BUTTO, if you want to get technical, but it’s the BUTT that stands out so much to me:

Butto

That’s what I get for not paying too much attention to fabric placement when I stitched all those bits together. Oh well, I think my swap partner will like it regardless of the BUTT in the middle of it.


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Vintage Modern Wonky Star Quilt

I suppose I should come up with more creative names for the things I make, but it’s always just the most basic information with me: a wonky star quilt, made with Modern Vintage fabric. Anyway, it’s my first finish for 2013! The first of several, I hope… (But I shouldn’t jinx myself by saying that.)

Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt

I’ve been working on this one since November 2012, I think, which for me isn’t a very long time. It’s rare I finish things within months, rather than within years! It does help to have a deadline, though. I didn’t meet my original one – to have it done by Christmas – but I did get it done before my family comes to visit again (that’ll be end of February, most likely). My parents will be tasked with taking this quilt to give to my Grandma, who I made it for.

A very long time ago I started a different quilt for my grandma. It was an origami quilt, where all the nine-patch blocks had origami flowers made using all the ugly floral prints my mom had bought me. (She used to buy me fabric periodically and half the time it was weird floral prints that wouldn’t appeal to much of anyone, I don’t think!) It was the first big project I ever really worked on, and it had A LOT of construction issues. I mean, I didn’t really KNOW it, but I sure figured it out when I started quilting it.

Origami quilt, unquilted

This photo is from before I quilted it, but once I started… well, the borders were all out of whack, so much so that I actually had to fold-over and quilt down about an inch of fabric on one side. (It hides remarkably well – it happened to be right where there was a seam anyway, and it just sort of blends in.) I had a hell of a time figuring out how to quilt it, and I screwed things up a lot and tried mostly unsuccessfully to hide it. The more I tried to make things work, the more frustrated I got with it, and so it’s spent several years languishing in a closet while I mulled over what to do with it… at least, I mulled it over in between year long bouts of pretending it didn’t exist.

Fabric Origami Quilt, 2x2

During one of my annual bouts of mulling things over a while back, I realized the single biggest problem with the quilt: it’s full of raw edges. Every single flower has a raw edge on the underside of each petal, which you can see opened up in the photo above. I’ve made a lot (A LOT) of mini-pillows using these, and it’s not such a big deal that they’ve got raw edges, because you’re not using it, you’re not likely going to have to wash it. But how can you wash a quilt with 65 flowers, each with raw edges on all four petals? So needless, I think, to say… I’ve given up on that quilt. I don’t know what to do with it – it seems ridiculous to bag it up and throw it in the garbage, but I just don’t know how to salvage it.

Anyway, I had to make a new quilt. My Grandma has made me a number of quilts – I think I’ve got four from her, which really I should take proper pictures one day and make a post about them. But I’ve never made her something big before, and I thought she’d probably like to have something I quilted, since I know she’s pretty tickled by the thought that I’ve picked up quilting. The few times she’s seen things I’ve made, she’s had a kind of funny reaction. She finds the colours and prints I use kind of bewildering, I think. I mean, why would I want a quilt with black sashing and bright colours when there are so many pretty pink fabrics out there?

Anyway, Bonnie & Camille’s Vintage Modern is a very pretty fabric line, and although it’s not quite my thing, it’s still something that hits points that appeal to me (the interesting prints, like the houndstooth and those sort of circular ones, the colours – red and aqua and grey), but is traditional and pretty enough to appeal to my Grandma.

Vintage Modern Wonky Star Quilt

I made this using a layer cake – a Moda layer cake will give you 21 blocks, I used 20 and the extra may, if I get around to it, get turned into a cushion – and then red and white yardage, plus a little yardage for the border and binding. Using a layer cake (the equivalent of 4 charm packs) means the blocks are a little larger than standard, about 13.5 inches finished rather than 12 inches. Which is nice, because this makes a decent sized lap quilt for an adult, about 63 x 77 inches.

When I started making the blocks, I was a little concerned that the white stars wouldn’t stand out against the grey prints, so I separated out all of the grey prints (there were 8) and made four blocks in all grey, with the red stars to contrast. The red fabric is cherry Cotton Couture from Michael Miller, and is really beautiful feeling stuff. (I mean, I like my Kona Cotton, I’ve got yards and yards of the stuff, but Cotton Couture is just GORGEOUS stuff to work with.)

Vintage Modern star blocks

I like those contrasting stars in the quilt and I’m glad I did it. (Although I think that’s one of those things that will bewilder my Grandma!) I think those four red stars are probably the wonkiest of all my wonky stars, so that appeals to me too. I was really worried that I’d run out of the white tone-on-tone I used with the multi-coloured prints, so I was being very cautious about how I cut them and how much fabric I used. I did manage to stretch the tone-on-tone over the whole quilt, but I think I was only left with maybe 2 or 3 squares or triangles that would still have been usable. (I don’t know how much I started with – it was probably about a metre, but I’m really not certain.)

Vintage Modern quilt top

I don’t have any really good shots of the quilting in this one, but that’s okay because I kind of did it all ass-backwards and would have done things a fair bit differently if I’d really thought it through before I started, rather than doing the first thing I thought of and then having to slot in everything else around it. In any case, I quilted it in a pale grey that pretty much blends right into the quilt. Before quilting, I tried something new to me with the basting, which was to baste on a table rather than the floor! I found this tutorial from My Fabric Obsession and decided that even if it didn’t work out that well, it HAD to be better than crawling around on the floor to pin baste. It was! I had no problems with wrinkles on the quilt back, and it was so so so so so easy compared to doing it on the floor. No aching back! No worries about leaving pin gouges in the kitchen floor! (I probably left some pin-scratches in my sewing table, but I’m really not worried about that.) I’m definitely going to do that again the future, although maybe I’ll finally suck it up and try thread basting.

Vintage Modern Wonky Star Quilt

I decided when I was working on the top, that I really wanted to have a flannel backing, so that it would be nice and cosy to wrap up in. As a lap quilt, I figure it’s more likely to be used off a bad, and thus without a sheet, so who wouldn’t want an extra fuzzy and soft feeling fabric up against them? I thought I’d probably have to use a solid grey flannel, but Vintage Modern came with several flannel prints as well, and I found someone on Etsy who was selling yardage. I really wanted a grey print (I don’t know why, it just felt right) and was very happy to find that floral that you see up above. This Moda flannel seemed to be a nicer quality flannel than a lot of the solids I’ve worked with before. I didn’t pre-wash the other fabrics, but obviously I did pre-wash the flannel because that stuff can shrink A LOT, but it shrunk much less than any other flannel I’ve worked with in the past. It also didn’t seem quite as shred-happy as a lot of flannels I’ve used.

For the binding, I used a striped print from another line of fabric by Bonnie & Camille, Marmalade, which is another line of pretty vintage-looking florals. I had planned to use the red print with white dots that you can see in the quilt, but went with the striped binding instead because who doesn’t love a striped binding? There’s a part of me that thinks my Grandma would probably have liked the dots better, so that part of me kind of wishes I hadn’t switched to the stripe, but I love the stripe too much to seriously contemplate changing anyway.

So now I need to chuck this puppy in the wash. I’m always scared of washing things – what if it completely falls apart? what if the whole thing comes out in a big ball of shredded fabric and strings? – even though I’ve never had any problems. Irrational fears, eh?


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WIP Wednesday: Vintage Modern Quilt top

Vintage Modern Wonky Star

I wanted to be this far along a couple days ago, but I got distracted by MadMen. I finally borrowed season 5 from the library (I was on a wait list for a long, long time) and even though I sew most often when I’ve got tv I want to watch, I really shouldn’t watch such compelling tv when I’m trying to sew because I just get nothing done. (But Pete, that skeevy creep! And Don! And Peggy!) Six episodes down, and only eight seams to show for it.

Anyway, that’s the wonky star top put together, made using Vintage Modern, some Cotton Couture (the red), and some random white on white fabric.

I want to try this different way of basting, where you clamp it onto a table to pin it, rather than taping it to the floor. Which I’m hoping won’t just save my back, but will also help get it all more taut – I always have issues with the back shifting, no matter how much I pin.

Anyway hopefully it’ll work out, and then I just need to figure out how to quilt the thing. I’m not very good at free motion quilting yet, so I don’t want to try it for this quilt. I’d rather get more practise on something I care less about. Which leaves me more or less with something involving straight lines, but what, exactly, I don’t know… I keep turning ideas over in my head, but nothing is really sticking with me.

Next week is going to be a bit of a crap week – I work six days and both this weekend and next (I usually work alternating weekends) – so I’m not sure how it’s all going to go, but I really, really want to have this done before Christmas. So I guess I’ll cross my fingers (and hope I get through MadMen fast, so that I can focus a little more).

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